Research Summary: Single Gene Deletions of Orexin, Leptin, Neuropeptide Y, and Ghrelin Do Not Appreciably Alter Food Anticipatory Activity in Mice


Timing activity to match resource availability is a widely conserved ability in nature. Scheduled feeding of a limited amount of food induces increased activity prior to feeding time in animals as diverse as fish and rodents. Typically, food anticipatory activity (FAA) involves temporally restricting unlimited food access (RF) to several hours in the middle of the light cycle, which is a time of day when rodents are not normally active. We compared this model to calorie restriction (CR), giving the mice 60% of their normal daily calorie intake at the same time each day. Measurement of body temperature and home cage behaviors suggests that the RF and CR models are very similar but CR has the advantage of a clearly defined food intake and more stable mean body temperature. Using the CR model, we then attempted to verify the published result that orexin deletion diminishes food anticipatory activity (FAA) but observed little to no diminution in the response to CR and, surprisingly, that orexin KO mice are refractory to body weight loss on a CR diet. Next we tested the orexigenic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and ghrelin and the anorexigenic hormone, leptin, using mouse mutants. NPY deletion did not alter the behavior or physiological response to CR. Leptin deletion impaired FAA in terms of some activity measures, such as walking and rearing, but did not substantially diminish hanging behavior preceding feeding time, suggesting that leptin knockout mice do anticipate daily meal time but do not manifest the full spectrum of activities that typify FAA. Ghrelin knockout mice do not have impaired FAA on a CR diet. Collectively, these results suggest that the individual hormones and neuropepetides tested do not regulate FAA by acting individually but this does not rule out the possibility of their concerted action in mediating FAA.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 28-March-2011

Author(s): Gunapala K., Gallardo C., Hsu C., Steele A.


Leave a Reply